VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Shawn Matthias scored the first hat trick of his career Friday night as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Boston Bruins 5-2.
Radim Vrbata and Jannik Hansen, into an empty net, had the other goals for Vancouver, while Zack Kassian added two assists. Ryan Miller made 21 saves to get the win in his 600th NHL game.
Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly replied for Boston, which got 20 saves from Tuukka Rask.
Matthias scored twice in the first period and once in the third.
Trailing 3-1 after two periods, the Bruins got within one at 5:41 of the third when Kelly scored his seventh on a shot that deflected in off Canucks defenseman Ryan Stanton.
But Vancouver restored its two-goal lead just 26 seconds later when Kassian, who has five points in his last four games after being a healthy scratch for three straight, fed Matthias in front after a giveaway by Boston’s Dennis Seidenberg. Rask made a great save on the initial shot, but the puck rebounded off Seidenberg and over the line, prompting the crowd at Rogers Arena to litter the ice with hats as Matthias celebrated his 13th goal.
Hansen then lofted an empty-netter from his own zone.
The Canucks led 2-1 through 20 minutes and came out flying in the second period, directing the first 10 shots of the period on Rask. Vrbata stretched Vancouver’s lead at 9:26.
Chris Higgins fed a between-the-legs pass from behind the net in front to Vrbata, who patiently slid home his 21st.
The game was another rematch of the 2011 Stanley Cup final that Boston won in seven games. Although each side has a lot of new faces, Friday’s contest was physical and fast-paced as both teams continue playoff pushes in their respective conferences.
Vancouver started brightly and Matthias opened the scoring 1:41 in after taking a slick pass from Kassian on a 2-on-1.
The Canucks kept the pressure on and Matthias buried his second of the night after intercepting an ill-advised attempted pass up the middle by Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton. The big center skated in on Rask and outwaited the Boston goalie before calmly firing home.
The Bruins called a timeout after that goal and eventually got back in the game when Bergeron scored his 16th on a rebound he put in off Canucks defenseman Christopher Tanev on a scramble after a 2-on-1 break.
NOTES: Matthias had scored two goals in a game six times before Friday. … Vrbata’s goal stretched his points streak to eight games. … The Canucks and Bruins each hit the crossbar in the first period.
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